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Your Business

News/Business. A focus on issues facing small business in the United States.

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Us 11, Beth 3, J.j. Ramberg 2, Angela 2, Barber 2, America 2, Angela Sims 1, Michelle Maddic 1, Facebook 1, Beth Goldstein 1, Michelle 1, Eckman 1, Linda 1, Julie 1, Harry Cunningham 1, Linda Kayhand 1, Joanna Jackson 1, Debbie Homada 1, Brandon 1, J.j. 1,
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  MSNBC    Your Business    News/Business. A focus on issues  
   facing small business in the United States.  

    November 10, 2012
    2:30 - 3:00am PST  

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it can make the difference between a customer coming into your business or walking right by it. the secrets to effective window displays. and how does throwing paint around translate to better team work? the answer's coming up next on "your business." ♪ small businesses are revitalizing the economy and american express open is here to help. that's why we're proud to present "your business" on
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msnbc. ♪ hi there, everyone. i'm j.j. ramberg and welcome to "your business" where we give you tips and advice to help your business grow. what gives someone who's just walking down the street with no intention of stopping into your store to change their mind and walk in? well, if you do it right, it's your window displays. your windows give you an incredible opportunity to invite people into browse and hopefully buy something. today, we have some simple tricks of the trade to make those displays stand out. ♪ >> i think that our windows just bring people into our store because they wonder what is in that store. ♪ >> debbie homada is the owner of
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a small gift boutique in portland, oregon. >> i think yellow. yellow? >> debbie and her assistant joanna jackson put a lot into their window displays and they have a reason. >> you want to stop, someone who is walking or driving by and make them turn around and come back. and we have people of all ages walk into the store because they wonder what's in here because of the windows. >> april be eckman owner of the asian restaurant directly across the street frequently hears about debbe's windows from her own customers. she says they can't help but notice them while they seat and eat. >> they often ask, is that an arts supply store. they're very curious. it's very bold and eye-catching. >> people sit there and wonder what we are. what is that colorful place. they come over. oh, they come immediately over. >> and oftentimes, they come in. >> then they come in the door, and we got them.
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>> hey, debbe, how are you doing? >> good. >> looking at the new window 80. >> i'm loving it. debbe and joanna, her assistant, have done great things with a very small amount of merchandise. >> and lie love how you added that little dangling necklace on the antlers. it's just fun. it carries the colors across. >> linda kayhand is also a consultant who specializes in visual displays and visual are merchandising. >> i always drive really slowly by the store. if it's a new window, i stop and take pictures. >> linda whose clients have ranged to clients like saks fifth avenue, said windows are the key to attract and keeping customers at interest. >> a lot of retailers think, oh, i'm going to put this sweater in the window and it's going to
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sell. where in reality, you are selling the image of the store. ♪ come to my window >> linda said store windows can do much more than sell particular products. they really should be used to give the store its identity. no matter what the business. >> this is how people know what you are. what you're selling, whether they should come in or not. >> because customers play so much attention to what's in the windows, retailers have to be careful how they set up displays. for example, linda says, luxury items and affordable items must be displayed very differently. >> when you have very expensive merchandise and you cram it all together, it looks cheap. essentially price equals space. >> pick shoe stores. >> if you have a $500 pair of shoes, and you cram it next to other $500 pairs of shoes, you might as well just be a discount store. but if you give those shoes their own space, and you honor them with space, then they look
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like what they're worth. whereas, if you take, you know, a $30 pair of shoes and you put them with a lot of space, it's just going to confuse the customer. because they're going to come in thinking that they're really expensive. and then actually feel annoyed. and left down that they're really just an expensive shoe. >> the same goes for julie. think tiffanies where there might be just a single item in the window all by itself, compared with another store not known for being a luxury brand. >> whenever we put up a new window, people always come in and say, oh, your window looks great. >> today, debbe and joanna are putting in a new display. they didn't put many items in the window, they decided to feature one item. a handbag. >> people come in for that handbag. >> the rest of the displays is
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mostly color, colorful paint, colorful paper and colorful things to look at. >> color pops. color has a lot of energy. if someone sees a strong color, they're going to notice. >> while it may not be surprising that color gets attention, many of us may not so that many of us react differently to different colors. >> it's really interesting how color influences us on so many levels. >> if you're using a window to give your store identity, linda says choose wisely. >> when you look at yellow it releases serotonin in your brain and makes you feel more update and happier. blue is considered one of the most favorite colors in the world. if you think of any of the big corporations in the united states, a good portion of them have blue logos because it's also the color of authority, communication and trust. red vibrates at a different intensity. it vibrates much more quickly than any other color.
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so it emits heat. it stimulates us in a very quick way to eat more, buy more, do everything more quickly. and people get impatient around red. they get impatient, they get irritable. >> of course, color is only one element. >> i love the use of the old suitcases. and the clock show up really nicely. there's a nice flow and line that happens here. this is really charming. earl's barbour shop, what a great time. even the type is fun. but who sees it, there's so much stuff on the window. perfect display. they're known for their delicious breads, they're front and center, and they've done a very nice job in displaying them. >> and does it need to be expensive to do this? linda and debbe say no. you just need to be thoughtful and be willing to roll are up your sleeves. >> it is not expensive for us to make windows.
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>> it's not expensive at all. it's just a little time-intensive. >> so how can you create eye-popping window displays for your retailer business? let's bring in our board of directors to talk about this. harry cunningham is senior vice president of store planning design and merchandising for saks fifth avenue. beth goldstein is the founder of marketing edge group and teaching entrepreneurial sales at the boston school of management. she's also the author of the book "lucky by design, navigating your path to success." and angela sims, great to see you as well. you have a retail store as well so you deal with this as well. >> we have a boutique in the west willage because our business is so local what we want to do is surprise and delight our passersby. we want to do that with emotion. for example, on mother's day, we asked our customers to send in a
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photo of their mothers. we want people to walk by and be grabbed by that emotion. >> we were talking about expense earlier -- >> that's not very expensive. it is time, though, you do have to roll up your sleeves. >> harry, you're an expert with this. you worked with small brands. you worked with big stores. for somebody who is not an expert, how can they make an eye-popping window. >> i think in the piece, she talked about the basics of visual, whether they're in a big saks fifth avenue or a small store. doesn't matter. the bakes are there. it's focusing on placement, great lighting. something like having a tag hanging cheapens a product. make sure you got great position. generally at eye level, you're not necessarily looking up or down for product but you're sort of seeing it as you walk by for focus. and we talk about color and the things that we do and about the use of space. sometimes, it is okay to leave space open to give that product more feature and more intense presence in the space. >> beth do you think a window
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should be used to sell a product or sell an idea? >> well, you know, that's a good question. and there's so much that you can take away from. how do you dress a window as to how do you dress jurors. so are you selling a piece of yourself or basically the whole brand? so the window display is your brand. your message to the world. i always think of it as the brick and mortgager's ability to have an elevator pitch. grab somebody for a few seconds and really entice them to come in and engage with you. >> is that the why you think of it or trying to sell products? >> we use our windows to sell product but also to connect to the community. there's a couple of times we don't have any products in the window. every june, we feature the aids, and we use them both to sell product which is obviously what they're there for. to speak to people that maybe aren't coming in intentionally, but will walk by and see something in the window and make them want to come in. but also really be a part of the world that we live. >> that's contactually what
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you're doing in essence with the mother's day, you're not selling the particular product there? >> no, but we are selling our brand. we try to do that differently every month. whether put be an inspirational quote in the window. women love quotes. we want people to on standpointly look and say what else is there. >> for someone who doesn't have a fabulous design sense. obviously, you have a store, what do you do, ask a bunch of friends? >> one of the things i do a lot and i think it's good for anybody. most of us carry a smartphone that has a camera on it, when you walk by and see something that strikes you, you love it, shoot a picture of it and we communicate to our stores all the time. and share photos even amongst ourselves about things that we like and things that we do. if you have no design sense there's somebody else that does that you probably like, take a picture that kind of helps get you in the right direction. >> thanks. that's a fun piece. displays are fun. you get to do it all the time. thanks so much, you guys, for
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this advice. the u.s. retail highlights report is out. and even though it mostly has the giant retailers in mind, your small business can still benefit from the findings. here now are five trends that could give you an edge, courtesy of ink.com. number five, e-commerce will grow exponentially. mobile sales are supposed to climb 49%. four, consumers will choose experience over price. expect retailers to value unique products and intuitive customer service over a good price tag. three, large retail companies will continue to acquire smaller e-commerce companies. last year, walgreens bought drugstore.com and nordstrom's bought hot look. watch for more companies look for opportunities to expand their brand through takeovers like these. two, don't expect a huge increase in retail sales. the national retail federation
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predicts just a 3.4% increase in retail sales for 2012 compared to 2011's 4.6%. and number one, remove every potential barrier that will keep someone from purchasing. make sure to have an easy to navigate website, adequate parking and clear signage at your store. getting customers is something many of us struggle with so we got gene marks here to the studio of getting times of getting more people to the retail store. gene is a small business columnist for "the new york times" and the president of the marx group. great to see you. >> great to see you. >> a lot of retailer stores said they got more customers that was good news. >> yep, yep. >> but there's more we can do? >> there is. i want to tell you something very surprising about me, j.j., i go to the barber once a month, if you can believe that. every time i go to my barber shop, he's a retail store, i think what could this guy be
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doing to get more bottoms in chairs in slow times. maybe it's your personality but i thought if i was running a store there would be things i'd do. number one, if i was running a retail store, i'd have a database for my customer. anybody that walks into the store, they're going into a database, you're asking for e-mail and lists. so you can create a vip list. my wife and i like sushi from this little store nearby. they send us coupons. it keeps us coming back. >> it's like the dentist. you fill out that thing, don't forget to come to the dentist. >> yeah. no matter what kind of retail store you are, if you want to have a newsletter based around it, a once a month e-mail going out, to advertise or educate which you brings me to the next point. every retail store should be doing something to educate because that brings in customers. the sushi restaurant, an an example, i'll use them and also
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a chinese restaurant, they do an education class on preparing chinese foods. that barber, why can't he be doing a class once a month on grooming yourself or doing your own hair. guys like me, i'd be interested in doing that, i don't necessarily mean i'd do it on my own, but it still draws people in to get an education. >> and it keeps them loyal. >> it does. >> you can go to that barber, a barber is different or this nail salon. >> a nail salon is a perfect example. i think women would like to learn tips on doing nails. why not have an event with coffee and cook kiss or whatever. education is a big thing. then the last thing, which i hardly see and i thought i should be seeing more, just partnering. i see retail stores that have complementary businesses of other retail stores. for example, my barber is located quite nearby a couple of men's stores that are nearby.
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why aren't they offering coupons for their services? there are people going into that men's shoe store that probably doesn't know that barber exists and vice versa. you offer coupons to my place, i'll offer coupons to your place. >> i just talked to a woman that owns a pilates studio. in her same building there is an art gallery and a wine company. and they do parties together. >> why not? >> the people she's targeting in her studio are also the same kind of people of these other stores. it's great. >> when you do retail, big box, it's local, it's your community. you and i are shopping at the same places in our neighborhoods as well. we may not know that some store offers a service, if we're partnering with places that we all go to, it educates us. >> you know what i like about these three, very easy. >> and the added bonus, once a month, i'm actually getting a hair cut. >> maybe you should wait a little.
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thanks so much, gene. when we come back, more great information, including how to get your product into the hands of retailers. and how throwing paint and role playing can help get your staff playing on the same team. ♪ tonight we're roll playin' you won't find a "home rule" on every corner, a "stag provisions" down every block, or a "hugh and crye" in every town. these are the small businesses of america, and all across the nation they're getting ready for their day. hundreds of thousands of small businesses are preparing for november 24, a day to open doors, and welcome the millions of customers who will turn out to shop small. small business saturday. visit shopsmall.com and get ready. because your day is coming.
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a successful startup requires a talented workforce, of course. but conflicting personalities can sometimes create problems instead of solving them. so what can you do to get your employees on the same page? today, we meet the team of shefinds.com who turned to woopa a company that develops team building experiences to help everyone see eye to eye. ♪ on a recent tuesday afternoon in new york city, the employees of the internet company she finds took a break from working on the site to work on themselves. throwing paint? that's working on themselves? in this case, yes. through a series of exercises, the she finds employees were working through a number of personal issues they were having at work. >> you really have two parts of the office.
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we have editorial and we have sales and marketing. if you've ever worked in magazines and media, those two usually don't mix very well. >> a situation she finds founder michelle maddic had to resolve. >> all we do is make it easy for busy women to shop online. we scour the web for the best of the best, and we tell you how to get it. >> but expanding business and different personalities working together, tensions arose between departments. >> i constantly have to play the mediator between the two. trying to say, you don't understand what they're doing and what's happening on the other side. >> hoping to increase communication and understanding in the office, michelle and her team enlisted the team of stella and her team at woopaah. >> businesses need this the most. it turns out that well-being has a very high relationship with
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productivity, creativity and effectiveness. when i say well-being, i mean their sense of connection with one another. >> event started unexpected with blind folds for all participants. stella had them all taste and eat foods to heighten their senses. >> once they're heightened, they're feeling alive. that's when we do deeper work. >> by deeper work, she means getting to the root of the problem. stella handed them a pot. >> i get sidetracked, i feel like i get too frustrated. >> and then they broke them. >> whoa! >> and that smash is a real cathartic release. >> this opened up the door to discussing how to make things better. >> turn to your partner and share. what would you like to replace this with, how would you like to be different. >> just not worry as much. just live for the moment and not worry so much about the future. >> and then the grand finale, the paint room.
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from your co-workers, from the walls to the floors to the tools we give you, those are all both canvas and tool for you to do as you wish. that creates a real metaphor more the workplace, where, our goals we might see straight ahead of us, but the journey there is not always there. so sometimes, we have to get messy, especially in small businesses and roll up our sleeves. >> it's unconventional, sure, blind golds, takes on pots. they found they are no longer two teams, editorial and sales, but one, working towards the same goal. >> i just felt like politics gone, stress aside, we were all on the same playing field. >> we went into this event with the sense we're a lot more similar than we think we are in the office. >> time to answer some of your business questions. beth and angela are with us once
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again. the first question is about finding a zrinter. currently, we're selling all of our line online. how can a business owners like me reach major distributors? >> how can you get someone? you have a product, you love it. you've got a little bit of traction online. how do you get people to take notice? >> well, you know, interestingly, her question was about distribution, and yet, you have to go back and ask yourself, who's she distributing to? i looked at her collection, it was quite interesting. but it was a unique niche. he was positioning herself to hip hop and socialites. and those are two very different audiences. so when she's trying to figure out what do distributors to to approach. which is networking basic 101, she has to start by figuring out, who's the customer, who's the market? do i want to be in target? do i want to be in bloomingdales's? you know, there's some place in between, those distributions, those channels are segmented more towards who are customers
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and why are they buying from her specifically? >> you manufacture your own products. have you ever thought about trying to distribute your products elsewhere? >> absolutely. when i first started, i thought that was the avenue i wanted to go down. everyone things if you have an online business, you stay behind the computer. but you really need to, as you said, be out there networking. the best places are trade shows. find ought where your target clients are. what i did i got to know a lot of spa director us because we're in the beauty industry and ask them who are your favorite distributors and then i would speak to those people. >> the next question. this is one about staying educated so you can grow your business. >> as an entrepreneur, what are the top three skills that we should be taking that will build our businesses? >> as a professor, that teaches entr entrepreneurs. i'll start with you. >> that's like a loaded question. what class should i take. small business owners, they wear
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a million hats. they have to understand finance, marketing, sales, operations. they have to start by saying what am i really good at and what are the areas of the business that i don't understand as well. one thing i've seen most entrepreneurs are not great, understanding the cash flow. that will kill a business. you can be selling a product but if you can't manage the cash coming in or out, then you're doomed. so that may be an ideal course. maybe you're not comfortable in sales. >> you just have to figure out where your personal weakness is, and you have a networking organization. >> right. >> with success, which teaches people things that they don't know. >> i think the question is, what industry are you in. what are their strengths and weaknesses. i find a lot of women entreprene entrepreneurs, their weakness is strategy. and they don't like to look at the numbers. understanding the numbers are so important. and then one thing that i think is very important as well is networking. a lot of people done really
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understand how to do that. so i think by trial and error, by getting out there doing it, is very, very important. >> and the beauty is there are all kinds of classes you can take. you can take them online, go to a local school. there's a lot out there. the next one, brandon, he wrote in, i own an event rental company. events happen all the time, but it's really graduations, birthdays, aside from targeting corporate partners and clients what is a good tactic to increase repeat customers? you need good referrals, right? >> it depends on the industry, but in his case, repeat customers would be event planners, that's great. developing a strong appreciation program. i'm so glad he's talking about repeat customers you can constantly mind it with the list that you have. i think it's important to start a happy birthday program. or developing very strong
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relationships with event planners and making sure they love you because they're the ones that will keep coming back. >> any ideas? >> well, if you've been to his website, he runs this photo booth which is really unique. and i looked at it and i thought, this is is all about milestones, what are people celebrating. so think about what is the value proposition? it's about helping people create memories. so go back, figure out, how could he get repeat business by helping them create more memories, right? so it's what's it all about for the customer and then helping them engage in them more. >> right, because everybody has a birthday every year, so those people can definitely be repeat customers and clients. >> thank you for your advice. very helpful. and if any of you have questions for our experts go to our website, the address is openforum.com/yourbusiness. there hit the link in the show to some submit a question. again, the website is openforum.com/yourbusiness.
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e-mail questions and comments. address is yourbusiness@msnbc.com. beth and angela had helpful advice are about how to improve your business. now, let's get great ideas from small business owners like you. >> always hire people that are smarter than you. specifically, in very specialized fields, where their expertise is a lot deeper. their skills are a lot deeper. don't be afraid to bring in people that are a lot smarter than you are in their specific fields of expertise. >> the real combination of success is the combination of client acquisition and client retention. or finding them and keeping them, as i call it. i find that oftentimes, people are good at one or the other but not both. so client acquisition, initially, is the most important, as you've got to find new clients to build your client base. >> my tip to owe entrepreneurs would be to focus your market.
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it's a great thing to have a product, but if you don't know what your market is, you're really in trouble. the best thing is it do the due diligence so you approach your market in a scope fashion, as opposed to a shotgun fashion. looking for a way to connect with your mobile customers? then check out our website of the week. rewardid.com customers can get points that they can mentally turn into cash vouchers. like spending money, making friends and completing surveys. you can customize your offers and set up the points value that works best for your business. to learn more about today's show, click on our website, it's openforum.com/yourbusiness. you'll find all of today's segments plus web exclusive information to help your business grow. follow us on twitt twitter @msnbcyourbiz.
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don't forget facebook. next week, a new phenomenon called cash mobs is sweeping the nation. >> the logo on our blog, we each do a little, we each do a lot. if each gives $20, 20 people give $400. it's not charity. >> how to support your local small businesses $20 at a time. until then, i'm j.j. ramberg. remember, we make your business our business. you won't find a "home rule" on every corner, a "stag provisions" down every block, or a "hugh and crye" in every town. these are the small businesses of america, and all across the nation they're getting ready for their day. hundreds of thousands of small businesses are preparing for november 24,